Humans depended on things that exist freely in nature to survive. These things include water , land, soils, rocks, forests, animals, fossil fuels and minerals. They are called Natural Resources and are the basis of life on earth.
Natural resources are all connected in a way. Therefore if one is taken away, it will affect the supply or quality of all others. For example, if water is eliminated from an area, the vegetation, soils, animals and even the air in that area will be affected negatively.
Natural resources can be consumed directly or indirectly.
Sometimes, natural resources can be used as raw materials to produce something. For instance, we can use a tree from the forest to produce timber. The timber is then used to produce wood for furniture or pulp for paper and paper products. In this scenario, the tree is the raw material.
Types of Natural Resources
All Natural Resources fall under two main categories: Renewable and Non-renewable Resources.
Renewable resources are those that are constantly available (like water) or can be reasonably replaced or recovered, like vegetative lands. Even though some renewable resources can be replaced, they may take many years and that does not make them renewable.
If renewable resources come from living things, (such as trees and animals) they can be called organic renewable resources.
If renewable resources come from non-living things, (such as water, sun and wind) they can be called inorganic renewable resources.
Non-renewable resources are those that cannot easily be replaced once they are destroyed. Examples include fossil fuels. Minerals are also non-renewable .
Non-renewable resources can be called inorganic resources if they come from non-living things. Examples include include, minerals, wind, land, soil and rocks.
The world economy uses around 60 billion tonnes of resources each year to produce the goods and services which we all consume.
Natural resources are not evenly distributed all over the world. Some places are more endowed that others — for instance, some regions have lots of water (and access to ocean and seas). Others have lots of minerals and forestlands. Others have metallic rocks, wildlife, fossil fuels and so on.
Many countries have developed their economies by using their natural resources. Some also get a lot of income from their resources in the form of tourism and recreation.
Crude oil is another important natural resource. From Crude oil, we get many petroleum products such as petrol, diesel and gas. We use these to fuel our cars and provide energy to warm and cool our homes. But Crude oil is not evenly distributed all over the world.
Threats to Natural Resources
This is probably the most significant, single threat that natural resources face. The world’s population is increasing at a very fast rate. The increase in populations mean there will be pressure on almost all natural resources.
B. Climate Change
The alteration in climate patterns as a result of excessive is hurting biodiversity and many other natural resources. Species that have acclimatized to their environments may perish and others will have to move to more favorable conditions to survive.
C. Environmental Pollution
Land, water and air pollution directly affect the health of the environments in which they occur. Pollution affects the chemical make-up of soils, rocks, lands, ocean water, freshwater and underground water, and other natural phenomena. This often has catastrophic consequences.